Okay! NOW--this, ladies and gentlemen, is where the plot thickens.
New casting note: Mr. Crant, Crolin's top henchman, is modeled after actor Christoph Waltz.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"From Risa With Love"
They went straight to Cynthia’s room in the Resort of the Vulcan Stone. It was basically identical to Bashir’s own, more or less. The furniture was arranged somewhat differently, of course…and Bashir couldn’t help but notice that her bed seemed large enough for two.
Oh, of course you’d take note of that. You simply can’t help yourself, can you, Julian?
Cynthia promptly removed her earrings as she sat down at her desk, Bashir standing behind her. She pulled the tricorder out of her purse, and connected the earrings onto the front end. A hum escaped the machine, as it took in the information. Finally, it chirped its success.
Cynthia tossed Julian a light smile, and activated the screen on her desk. They saw, as expected, a complete and detailed schematic of the extent of their “tour”.
“Well,” Cynthia remarked, “The ground floor and above checks out.”
“Not really,” Bashir muttered.
Cynthia turned to him. “Julian?”
“I don’t know. Perhaps it’s paranoia on my part, after what you’d said but…I sincerely
doubt our Mr. Crolin intends to own that place for any length of time.”
“I mean—the furnishing of the rooms consisted of only the cheapest materials. Most people wouldn’t notice it, but…most people don’t possess my enhancements. Anyway—if he were truly intending to compete with the other resorts, surely he would spare no expense in the renovations. Impressiveness and uniqueness is all too essential in this sort of thing—and yet…it’s only impressive if you don’t know what to look for.”
Cynthia nodded slowly. “So…that supports our suspicions, then?”
“I’d say so. But naturally, most if not all of our questions would be answered if we knew exactly what
is going on in the basement levels. Now, of course he didn’t take us down there. How’s your general scan?”
Cynthia pressed the appropriate controls on the tricorder. The screen changed. “I have an idea as to the size of the lower levels. The basement is normal—for all I can tell, it is
“And the subbasement?”
Cynthia turned to him. “The space in that level is massive enough so that it extends underneath the neighboring resorts.”
Bashir shook his head in bewilderment. “What would they be doing down there?”
Cynthia shrugged. “I…was able to pick up an energy signature.”
She shook her head. “It’s nothing that massive. It could be simply a…reactor for the cooling system.”
“Well, let’s see it. The slightest detail could be important.”
Cynthia entered the command, and the vague, undefined schematic of the subbasement filled the screen. “Most of it is concentrated at a point, here
,” she pointed to a glowing hub, “At the center of the level.”
“Well, there’s your reactor. But,” Julian pointed to a thin, faint line extending from the concentration, “You see that?”
She nodded. “Yes…an extension?”
“It looks that way. Note that it travels off into the distance, without any indication of going up to service the building. It fades the further it goes—but I’d say that’s only due to the limited range of a tricorder. Interestingly enough, it’s just as well for Crolin that it’s that faint—had we not suspected his ‘business’ already, this could just be shrugged off as an interesting anomaly.”
“I suppose, but…what couldit be for?”
“Knowing the Syndicate, I’d wager they’re controlling something from down there, using the resort as a cover.”
“Obviously. But what?”
Bashir ran the question over in his mind. What indeed? What on Risa…would they be able to control? What would they be able to control
here, that they couldn’t on any other planet? What does Risa have, that other worlds—?
Suddenly, a thought occurred to him—a theory which would explain it all.
“Cynthia,” he asked. “Where’s the weather control system, relative to the Palais?”
Cynthia stared at him for a moment, a mixture of concern and bewilderment on her face. But she entered the command into the console. A map filled the screen, the locations of the Palais and the weather control system indicated by two white dots—a mile or so apart.
“All right. Now…enter the ‘path’ of the energy signature—and extrapolate it.”
She froze for a moment, as the idea apparently entered her mind, as well. Finally, she entered the command.
Bashir was not disappointed. The line that appeared connected the two dots perfectly.
Cynthia shook her head with a whispered “Mon
“Clever, really,” Bashir muttered. “They’re tapping into the weather net. With the right technology, they could target a specific location and, say, strike it with lightning…or create a drought, or a flood. With residents and tourists unable to escape the planet, due to threats of storms and unstable weather...they could effectively hold the entire planet for ransom.”
Cynthia leaned back in her seat, hand on her forehead. “And it will happen soon, then—just like we feared.”
Bashir felt a smile come to his face, and he clasped her shoulder. “Not if we
can help it.”
Cynthia looked up at him, blankly.
Julian raised an eyebrow. “Tonight, what say we turn off the lights on Mr. Crolin?”
Cynthia frowned. “…‘We’?”
Bashir shrugged. “Why not? We started this together—we might as well finish it the same way.”
Cynthia looked off for a moment, and sighed.
Bashir frowned. “Something wrong?”
“N-nothing, Julian. Just…”
She turned back to him, and rose to her feet. “Doctor…you were
a great help to me, but frankly, with your…close call in the lift with Mr. Crolin, I’m not sure I can trust you in a more dangerous situation.”
Julian shook his head. “You wound
“Doctor, I’m quite serious. You’re not…you’re not a professional in these things.”
Bashir crossed his arms, looking at her intently. “Agent Holland…I am a Starfleet Officer. I have been trained for combat—by both the Academy and the field. And frankly…two heads are better than one in such situations.”
“Doctor, if all goes well, there’ll not be
“Cynthia—nothing ever goes according to plan. You of all people should know that.”
Cynthia raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps not…but two people are more likely to be discovered.”
“And one person is more likely to be shot in the back. Frankly, it’s a wonder S.I. didn’t give you backup to begin with.”
She hesitated, looking off.
Julian leaned forward a bit, and added in a teasing whisper, “I…promise I’ll follow your
Holland swallowed a bit, and finally nodded. “All right.” She met his gaze. “But consider yourself held to that.”
“Good!” Bashir smiled.
Cynthia returned the smile, but only halfheartedly.
“Oh, don’t worry, Agent—I think you’ll find I’ll prove most resourceful.”
The girl narrowed her eyes, her smile returning in full. “Oh, you’ve already proven that
“Perhaps…” Julian’s own eyes narrowed, “But I’ve yet to show you the…extent
of my abilities.”
Cynthia raised an eyebrow, as she sat herself on the edge of the desk, crossing her legs. “Really? You’re that capable, Dr. Bashir?”
“In many ways, Miss Holland.”
“Through your enhancements, I presume?”
“Well, I suppose so, but I’d think experience would also count.”
Her smile grew. “How much experience…?”
Bashir lowered his tone. “A considerable
amount. My field naturally involves a great deal of…research.”
“I would imagine so….” Cynthia slid off the desk, and walked past him. Her arm brushed against his, gently and—Bashir strongly suspected—deliberately.
“Still,” she continued, as she turned to him, “I trust you will remember to keep your word, Doctor…following my orders to the letter.”
“Then I expect you here
.” Her eyebrow rose again, “No games. Comprenez-vous
Bashir raised an eyebrow of his own, as he turned to face her with a smirk. “Completely.”
, at…2100, sharp. We’ll need cover of darkness for this.”
“I suppose I’ll need to change—?”
“Not really, Doctor. Just something you can move freely in. And if you have a tricorder and a phaser…”
Bashir nodded. “Very well. 2100—and no games, I promise.”
“Good. I’ll report to my superiors, and ready the equipment for tonight. And then…” she slowly smoothed out her dress with her palms, “You will prove to me, tonight, just how far your abilities take you.”
Bashir’s smile grew. “As I said…you will not
* * *
In the basement level of the Palais de Mystère, Crolin sat in his office, steepling his fingers as he looked across his desk at the man giving the report. “You’re sure?”
Mr. Crant, his most trusted subordinate, responded with a nod. “Of course, sir…Resort of the Vulcan Stone, ninth floor, suite 973.”
“And you say he only checked in two days ago?”
“What of the girl—Miss Gabrielle?”
Crant shrugged. “Well, there’s nothing on her, as of yet
. There are only two residents of the Resort with the name ‘Gabrielle’, and to be frank…neither fit the description. Obviously, she is either under an alias, or in a different resort. Perhaps both.”
Crolin nodded. “Of course.”
He looked off. “So…Dr. Julian Bashir, of Starfleet. Chief medical officer of Deep Space Nine—has a service of considerable note during the Dominion War…and now, looking into our affairs…”
Crant raised an eyebrow. “You think Starfleet suspects?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t care to take unnecessary risks—we must assume that they do.” Crolin sighed. “Serves us right, I suppose…. In the future, we must make sure to be more subtle, particularly in our financial transactions.”
To his credit, Mr. Crant apparently resolved not to remind him that he’d expressed that same concern beforehand. Of course, Crolin had understood that the operation had best be conducted as quickly as possible, so his decision had been final.
Crolin tuned back to his subordinate. “Keep track of the doctor. And if you locate the girl, keep track of her, too. In the meantime…we’d best carry on with the plan tonight—make sure they have as little time as possible to interfere.”
Crant smiled, and nodded. “Of course, sir….” And he turned, and left to carry out his orders.
Crolin leaned back in his seat. Ah, well. With any luck, this would prove to be merely a minor inconvenience.
* * *